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Stop and Smell the Roses: With Josephine!

Last week I had the chance to spend some time in Tennessee while my husband was on a trip with work for a few days. One of the days we were in town we made a special trip to Dalton, Ga to visit with my grandmother. I've always had a really close relationship with her, but as I got older and moved away to college, and even further when I got married, I didn't keep up with our relationship nearly as well as I should've. This is something I decided was going to change this year, despite the travel distance between us. I have been SO thankful to have this special time with her, so while I was there I decided to film my Stop and Smell the Roses vlog!

Stop and Smell the Roses

Honestly, I could have gone on and on and on about special memories I have with her and why I was so happy to be there, but I got so flustered with emotion I couldn't think of any coherent plan for this video as we filmed it.

We talked, we laughed, we cried. It's not perfect, but it's us.

For any of you who ever told me you couldn't detect a southern accent when I talked, I assure you it will be clear as day as you listen to me in this vlog. My family has a way of pulling it out of me, especially my grandmother. :)

Also, although I'm the only one in this video, my 89 year-old grandmother has many grandchildren and great-grandchildren that she absolutely adores! I think we all have our own unique relationship with her, but one thing is for sure, she brings a smile to all of our faces! She also has four children she loves so much, one of those being my sweet, sweet mama who you'll hear behind the camera.

We have been blessed beyond measure with this woman and I'm so thankful to Mandy for giving me the inspiration to share it with all of you!


For those of you visiting from House of Rose, thank you so much for stopping by. To any of you not familiar with the Stop and Smell the Roses vlog meme, go take a peek and check it out! Better yet, get in front of the camera and film your own vlog!! It's lots of fun!!

The Roth IRA Movement {AKA What the What?!}




Did you look at the title and think, "Oops! Went to the wrong place!" Well, not so fast my friends! You are indeed at The Cha Cha Chronicles and I did indeed write a post about a Roth IRA.

For those of you looking for another 17 Day Diet post, I plan on having that post up on Thursday. It completely slipped my mind that today was a day I had already agreed to do a different post and I didn't want to go back on my word.

So, why the heck did I write a post about Roth IRAs?! Well, because a couple of weeks ago my friend Mandy from House of Rose had a post on her blog about helping her husband out with a project he was working on. Jeff is a financial planner and a pretty successful blogger to boot. If I'm honest, I don't check his blog nearly as much as I check Mandy's, mostly because I'm just not into financial stuff.

{All you smart kids feel free to take a break from reading so you can roll your eyes at me now.}

But here's what I remember about the video they included in the post I mentioned above: Jeff was talking about how he had spoken at a local university and very few of the students (if any) knew what a Roth IRA was and he thought that was just crazy. Then I thought to myself, "I don't even know what a Roth IRA is and I'm a 26-year-old married mom of two." The only thing I could tell you is that I thought it had something to do with retirement. Now, I'm going to go hang my head in shame.

In our marriage, my husband does all things financial. A few reasons for this are that a) He enjoys it, b) He's good at it, and c) My brain doesn't do anything number related with ease. In fact, the moment people start talking about math or anything number related my brain starts zoning out... Well, unless you're talking about handing me a specific amount of money in cash that I can go spend at my own free will. I believe that's the only time my ears would perk up. :)

My husband is great about trying to keep me in the loop, but it takes serious work on my part to absorb the information we talk about. I'm pretty sure I've annoyed him many times by having conversations with him about our finances and then not remembering it the next day. It's bad, y'all.

Anyhoo, when I initially saw the post by Mandy and Jeff on House of Rose I didn't really think about participating, I mean, me write a post about a Roth IRA?! But then Mandy mentioned on Twitter how she hadn't really had anyone respond, so I thought, "What the heck, I can learn a little and write a blog post."

So, thanks to Jeff and his Roth IRA movement, here is what I've learned so far. A Roth IRA is indeed a retirement account. {At least I knew something!} It also grows tax-free, which means as the money accumulates or when you take it out at retirement you won't have to pay taxes. There is a limit on how much you can contribute per year dependent on if you have a yearly income and if you're married. *I found this info from the Dave Ramsey website.

The movement also led me to have a brief conversation with my hubby about what we have in place for retirement. I knew we had a 401K set up through his work, but I wasn't sure about the Roth IRA. Turns out we don't have a Roth IRA yet, but it is something we're interested in doing in the future. At this time the 401K is working well for us and our main focus is to continue following the Dave Ramsey plan by paying off the very last of our debt, the last of the student loans that will be looming for another month or two. After that our focus will shift a lot more heavily into savings for our family's future.

Despite my lack of reading Jeff's blog, I can assure you he has a ton of helpful information if you're looking for anything financial. As a bonus his adorable kids and sweet wife sometimes make appearances in his vlogs. (Those are the ones I like!) :) Thanks to Jeff and Mandy for pushing me to learn something new today, and for those of you like me who know little to nothing about retirement accounts, get on it!!

To see more about the Roth IRA movement you can go here!

Shorts + Swimsuits = Scary!

I don't know about you guys, but this warmer weather has been good for my soul. Sure, I love a little snow day here and there, but ultimately, the fact that winter decided to take a vacation year doesn't really bother me too much.

It's been great getting to take my boys out to play with their friends, giving them lots of practice on their new bikes, and breathing in the fresh air and sunshine. My mood has been more upbeat and I have no doubt it's due to the early spring.

It all just means we're that much closer to shorts and swimsuits, y'all!

Wait a second...

I am in no way ready for shorts and swimsuits.

This realization is what's led me to finally buckle back down into the world of the 17 Day Diet. I actually did this diet about a year ago and had really great results. Unfortunately, within the last few months I really lost control and started gaining all the weight back that I had lost. I've definitely learned over the last couple of years that being skinny is not something I will ever just naturally be again. I use to be one of the "lucky ones" who didn't have to work hard to keep a small figure, but those days are long gone!

So, today I start cycle 1, day 1 of the 17 Day Diet and in case you're curious about what a week in the first cycle of the diet can look like I'm including my menu plan for the week and linking it up over at orgjunkie.com's Menu Plan Monday.



So here is what my dinner menu looks like for the week of 
March 26 - April 1, 2012 :

Monday: Grilled Chicken {Marinated in Italian dressing} and Asparagus
Tuesday: Taco Salad {From the 17 Day Diet book}
Wednesday: Chicken-Vegetable Soup {From 17 Day Diet book} and Salad
Thursday: Leftovers
Friday: Indian Spiced Grilled Chicken and Cauliflower
Saturday: Turkey Burgers {No bun for me!}, marinated veggies {bell peppers and onions}
Sunday: Dinner out

For those interested, I also like to list out ideas for breakfast, lunch, and snacks. It helps when I'm making my grocery list.

Breakfast Options:
Egg Whites and Fruit or Yogurt {Carbmaster or Greek}
Greek Egg Scramble {From 17 Day Diet book}
Spanish Omelet {From 17 Day Diet book}

Lunch Options:
Salad {Topping options include - Strawberries, Reduced Fat Feta, Balsamic Vinaigrette; or Grilled Chicken, Cucumbers, Carrots, Broccoli, Cauliflower, Fat Free Cheddar, and Fat Free Italian.
Tuna and grapes
Leftovers

Snack Options:
Carbmaster Yogurt {From Kroger}
Apples {Like these Baked Apple Slices - Yummy!}
Strawberries
Grapes
Veggies

Check back in tomorrow for some more information about why I chose this diet and how I plan on being skinny by summer! :)

Stop and Smell the Roses: Hometown Hit-Up

Hi guys! Hope everyone is having a great week!

I'm a little late getting my movie up today, but still linking up nonetheless. I had planned on having a special guest with me in my vlog today, but scheduling didn't work out, so hopefully she'll be with me next week!

Stop and Smell the Roses

Today's vlog was kinda spur of the moment, but ended up being a lot of fun! I filmed, edited, and uploaded the video all from my handy dandy iPhone. How cool is that?! Gotta love technology!!

Hope you all have a great week!


Come Home, Peyton. Come home.

Picture taken by the wonderful Donnell Field of Field Imagery.

For those of you who don't know me well, let me give you a little background. I was born and raised in the South my whole life. I lived a large part of my childhood in Georgia, so the peach state holds a very special place in my heart, but at the age of 12 I moved to Tennessee and that became home.

While in middle school my dad started teaching me about a little thing called Tennessee football. He introduced me to Neyland Stadium, the power "T," a song called Rocky Top, and the likes of Phillip Fulmer, Tee Martin, and of course, Peyton Manning. I don't know what it was that drew me in, but the more I learned about the orange and white the more in love I was. I remember giggling at pictures of Peyton directing the band after a big win in "the Swamp," as well as staying up late with my bedroom TV on mute so my parents wouldn't know I was staying up on a school night to watch the (sadly, Manning-less) Vols win the 1998 BCS National Championship game. I think it took everything in my guts not to squeal and rat myself out! Memories like that are the glory days we Vol fans often reminisce about.

As a student at UT it was well known that Peyton, despite not winning a national championship, was like royalty, but in the furthest from annoying type of way. He was UT's proudest son and we were always glad to welcome him home. When he was in town everyone was on Peyton watch. Would he make an appearance at OCI? Could you catch a glance of him in the Vol Walk, maybe grab a hand shake or a picture?

It reminds me a little of how Tennesseans were acting yesterday as Peyton, now a free agent after being released from the Indianapolis Colts, made a trip to Nashville to speak with Bud Adams and others within the Tennessee Titans. Flights were being watched closer than Air Force One and minute-by-minute details were being released online. For this Tennessee lover it was extremely entertaining. Pictures even showed Peyton arriving in an orange sweater. He knows how to please his people, y'all.

So, in my own personal plea to Peyton (and for a little fun), I've decided to offer the top ten reasons Peyton should come back home to Tennessee and lead the Tennessee Titans to victory (upon victory, upon victory, upon victory, etc.).

10. Sometimes you want to go where everybody knows your name. Approximately 77.7% of all children and pets in Tennessee are named after the quarterback legend. {I just made that up, but I'm sure it's a great estimate.} We could even set up a "Peyton only" seating section at LP Field for all of his namesakes.

9. Every player's crazy 'bout a sharp dressed owner. The Tennessean posted this article with a fabulous picture of the spiffy Titans owner, Bud Adams, yesterday. Who wouldn't want to play for him?! {Thanks to my friend, Becca, for sharing that pic on Facebook!}

8. Kick the bird to the curb. Speaking of Bud Adams, there was a little incident a while back where he decided to show off his middle fingers after a big win. If anyone can teach Adams how to win {or lose, for that matter} gracefully I think Manning is the man.

7. Opportunity to get your charity on. I hear there is a great United Way chapter in Nashville. {I just cringed as I typed that. Spend time with your kids so Peyton Manning doesn't! <-- SNL skit = mature audiences only please.}

6. Relive the college days. I've seen posts floating around Facebook with a picture of an OCI on Broadway in downtown Nashville. There's no doubt people could make that happen.

5. A Girl on Rocky Top. I happen to know a beautiful little sweetie who lives in Tennessee and would be a great match for Marshall. I don't know if she's as wild as a mink, but she is sweet as soda pop.

4. Double the fun. On that note, we can work something out for Mosley too. This guy has connections to Smokey!


3. The third time's a charm. I saw an article on Facebook posted by my friend Sara that showed two other times Peyton has chosen Tennessee, when he was recruited there for college and when he chose to stay for his senior season rather than going pro. Maybe he could earn our state some bling this go-around.

2. Smooth out the rocky on Rocky Top. With his close proximity to Knoxville we sure would appreciate a little help back at the ol' alma mater.

1. If the cleat fits... Peyton loves Tennessee and Tennessee loves Peyton. It's a match made in southern football heaven.

Come home, Peyton. Come home. :)

Stop and Smell the Roses: An Awesome Daddy


It's Wednesday, and I'm blogging/vlogging for the third week in a row! Can you believe it?!

I can barely contain my excitement. ;)

Seriously though, big shout-out and thank you to Mandy over at House of Rose. This vlogging meme really kicked my blogging bottom into gear and I am loving it! Also, a big thanks to all of you who take the time to watch the vlogs and/or read and leave comments. It's such an encouragement and I want you to know I really do appreciate it.

Stop and Smell the Roses

The boys have had a fun week with their daddy which led to today's vlog. You can check out other vlogs and even participate yourself over here. {You know you want to!!} :)

Have a great week!

Thank You Daylight Saving Time and a Weekend Recap

Y'all.

It's 7:38 in the morning and my kids are still sleeping. Hence me, on this here computer with a cup of coffee and sweet silence, writing to all of you.

Thank you Daylight Saving Time, thank you.

I hope all of you had a great weekend! We stayed up way too late Saturday night discussing the rules of Uno with our neighbors (playing some too) and reliving the music of our past. Fun was had by all!

One of said neighbors has been asking me to join her and our other neighbor on runs lately. I would've agreed sooner, but they go at 5:30 in the morning and that's a little extreme for me, except this morning I did it! I, Brittany Chaudhari, went on a run at 5:30 in the morning. It's a day we should all celebrate, with healthy food of course, because otherwise it would be counter-productive.

We also ran yesterday, which was exciting as well, but that run was in the afternoon so the most impressive thing about that was that I did it 30 minutes after eating Taco Bell. I'm pretty sure my taco was poking me in my belly the entire time saying "What the heck are you doing, lady?!" but I kept going and sweat my little red face off. This led to me immediately going inside, laying down on the couch under the fan with a glass of water and missing some of the boys' time on their first bicycles. When I regained consciousness I grabbed my camera and resumed to my crazy picture-taking ways.

So, here's where I stop rambling and show you some pictures. :)

Ready... Set... Race!



He's fierce. ;)
Daddy and Jackson playing with a mini kite.

The gator got stuck and Jayden had his younger(!) brother, Jackson get out to push. Anyone else see anything unfair about this? I have a feeling it's only the beginning. :)

After our playtime we grilled out with the neighbors and had a delicious dinner. Seriously, I'm SO thankful for these people. Not only do they cook great food, but then they motivate me to go run all of it off. It helps that they're nice too. :)

Stop and Smell the Roses Vlog Link-Up

Hi y'all!

It's Wednesday, which means it's a new day to post a Stop and Smell the Roses vlog over at House of Rose! I tried to be a little more on top of it this week, which ended up in me filming this at 11:00 last night. This meant a lot of retakes, heavy eyelids, and a lot of crazy faces at the camera. The only one of those you'll have to witness is the heavy eyelids. {Thank you iMovie editing!!} :)




*I tried to change the crazy thumbnail pic of that video up there. Unfortunately, it didn't work, so enjoy looking at me holding a slipper bootie mid-sentence. Yikes.

If you're interested in the Ann Taylor Loft slipper booties I mentioned in the video you can go here. Mine never looked nearly as fluffy in person as they do on the Loft website and I can assure you that is not the picture that made me want them for Christmas, however, I still adore them. :)


Hope you all are having a great week. If you would like to shoot your own vlog and link up {Do it!!} you can do so over here!

Monkey Toast Memory Making

After a weekend away remembering and celebrating the life of my Aunt 'Rene we're now home and getting back into the swing of our routine. We're going to miss my aunt, that's for sure, but I'm thankful for all the fun memories I have of her from growing up.

One of the things that came to our attention as we were talking about all the different memories we have was that we are a food-loving family. One of my mom's final memories of my aunt from just three days before she died was my aunt eating a big, yummy, coconut bon-bon. All of my memories of family get-togethers include a table full of food. Just recently, my mom and I spent an afternoon with my grandmother forcing asking her to teach us how to make her peach cobbler because it's always been one of our favorite things from her oven.

This helps me understand two things about myself:
1) It's no wonder I'm having trouble losing the weight I gained from having babies.
2) In my book, special memories involve food.

The latter is something that truly occurred to me this morning as the boys were asking for a thing we like to call "monkey toast" around here, although the rest of the common world calls it cinnamon toast. It's nothing special, no recipe necessary, but for us it's one of the boys' favorite day starters.

We use this super cute monkey toast "stamper" my mom put in my Christmas stocking a couple of years ago.  The boys love stamping their toast themselves.

Pretty good, Mom! :)


Do you guys have any traditions or little things you think will be favorite memories one day? This is proof that it doesn't have to be big or a ton of work to be something your kids will appreciate! I would love to hear your own special moments in the comments!

Ache

Every Friday Lisa-Jo from The Gypsy Mama opens her blog space to host Five Minute Friday. She shares a topic and invites everyone to write for five minutes, and five minutes only, about that topic and then link up. Today her topic was ache and as soon as I saw it I knew I couldn't pass it up without writing. If you're interested in linking up or reading other Five Minute Friday posts you can do so here.


My mom, Aunt 'Rene, her daughter Sandra, Me, and Jayden together at Christmas.
A fun evening that I am so thankful for. Aunt 'Rene was in such great spirits this night and we shared a lot of laughs.

This morning my heart aches reminiscing of older times. Times with family filled with laughter, no thoughts of sickness or an end to our time together. I have many memories of being at my grandmother's house, squeezed in with lots of family, my grandmother and Aunt Irene, or Aunt 'Rene as we called her, sitting at the dining room table, laughing, talking, and enjoying each other's company. My Aunt 'Rene had sass and it always made me laugh and is one of the things I will miss most about her presence.

Yesterday, while on my drive down to visit my aunt, who we had been told was in her final days of battling lung cancer, I got the news that her battle was over. My heart aches because she is gone, because I didn't get to spend just a few more minutes with her, and because it's a realization that this life does in fact come to an end.

It's yet another reminder that we should embrace every moment, laugh every chance we can, love with all of our heart, and be grateful for every thing and minute we have. 

Stop and Smell the Roses: After the Storm

Hi friends and visiting House of Rose readers!

I decided to participate in my friend Mandy's Stop and Smell the Roses Vlog Link-Up today over at House of Rose. This is a time Mandy had dedicated to vlogging about something you are thankful for or that you love and appreciate. I decided this afternoon to go ahead and do my own video about something that had been on my heart all day and I hope it helps us all remember to be grateful.



Here are some links of interest to those looking to help:
Red Cross
Salvation Army
United Way
Local Areas Accepting Donations via WSIL
How You Can Help Missouri, Illinois Tornado Victims via KSDK.com

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